While many industries worldwide are severely affected by the corona pandemic, one niche industry is benefiting from the virus outbreak. According to a report by the cannabis industry, the growth of the sector is already higher than in full year 2019. In March, (legal) sales peaked, perhaps due to panic purchases from users who feared that the outlets would close due to the corona measures.
According to a public industry report, which charts the latest industry trends and looks ahead, retailers are now ordering more cannabis products from manufacturing companies than was the case before the virus outbreak.
In March, cannabis sales skyrocketed twice, around the time when the United States announced measures against the coronavirus and ordered lockdowns everywhere. One explanation for these outliers is that many users were stockpiling for fear that their physical outlets would close indefinitely.
The latter was the case in Canada: cannabis giant Canopy Growth temporarily closed 23 stores. Online cannabis sales in Canada increased sharply that month, with 80 to 100% more transactions than usual. Recreational cannabis use has been legal in Canada and 11 states in the US, plus the federal district of Washington, DC, since late 2018. Cannabis is permitted for medicinal use in more than half of the US states.
Cannabis effective against corona?
That spike was followed by a slight drop in sales compared to the same period last year, which may be due to the government’s finding that it would not shut down medical marijuana outlets. At the end of April, sales stabilized at an average level of 40% higher than in 2019.
The industry has even more surprising news: scientists are investigating whether cannabis can be of use in the fight against COVID-19. In a study published in April of this year, Olga and Igor Kovalchuck presented a theory that a specific cannabis variety could make the body more resistant to coronavirus infection. This theory has not yet been proven, but the research continues unabated.